2019 Legislative Wrap Up
BILLS OF INTEREST
JUC CAN (Community Action Network) tracked several bills in the Colorado Legislature that promote our UU values.
CELEBRATIONS (Bills that Passed):
* JUC CAN legislative Call to Action bills
HOUSING AND TENANT PROTECTION BILLS
Time Period to Cure Lease Violation
Extends the amount of time a renter has to pay rent before an eviction (from 3 to 10 days). If a landlord owns 5 or fewer single family rental homes, 5 days’ notice is required; for a nonresidential agreement or an employer-provided housing agreement, 3 days’ notice is required.
Residential Tenants Health and Safety Act
Provides process for enforcing the warranty of habitability, establishes timeframes for a landlord to commence repairs, and allows a renter to withhold rent if necessary. Makes it easier for a tenant to access relief through the courts and requires a landlord to address issues related to mold.
Affordable Housing Funding from Vendor Fee Changes
Creates a dedicated funding source for affordable housing. Modifies the state sales tax vendor fee, and some funds generated from these modifications are allocated for affordable housing. Appropriations to the Housing Development Grant Fund will be about $8 million in FY2019-20, $7 million in FY2020-21, and $48 million in FY2021-22. At least one-third of this revenue will be awarded to affordable housing projects directed towards households with incomes less than or equal to 30% of the area median household income.
Mobile Home Park Act Oversight
Creates protections for mobile home owners and establishes the Mobile Home Park Act Dispute Resolution and Enforcement Program and Fund. Gives counties and municipalities greater authority to enact certain ordinances for mobile home parks and gives mobile home owners additional time (10 days) between the notice of nonpayment of rent and eviction, and additional time (30 days, with the option of purchasing an additional 30 days) to vacate a mobile home park after a court-ordered eviction.
Eviction Legal Defense Fund
Creates the Eviction Legal Defense Fund and appropriates $750,000 for FY 2019-20 from the General Fund. Grants will be awarded to qualifying nonprofit organizations that provide legal advice, counseling, and representation to indigent clients facing or at risk of eviction.
Grants for Property Tax Rent and Heat
Increases rebate amounts and eligible income requirements for a property tax and rent assistance rebate grant and a heat and fuel expenses rebate grant (PTC rebates), which are available to low-income older adults and people with disabilities. Increases the income-eligibility thresholds and grant amounts by 5%, indexed to increase with inflation. Expands eligibility to people living in nonprofit housing.
Rental Application Fees
Prohibits a landlord from charging a rental application fee unless the entire amount of the fee is used to cover the landlord’s costs in processing the rental application. Requires that a landlord provide a written notice of denial stating the reasons for denial. Prohibits (1) consideration of rental and credit history beyond seven years, (2) consideration of any arrests that do not result in a conviction, and (3) consideration of criminal convictions older than five years, with some exceptions.
Increase Tax Credit Allocation Affordable Housing
Doubles (from $5 million to $10 million) the amount of state affordable housing tax credits that the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) may allocate each year for tax years 2020 through 2024.
Incentives Developers Facilitate Affordable Housing
Requires that most state agencies and institutions of higher education provide an inventory of all nondeveloped real property to the Capital Development Committee not later than October 15, 2019. This information will be included in an annual report published on the General Assembly website, with a link posted on the Division of Housing website.
Expand Supply Affordable Housing
Requires that up to $30 million be transferred from the Unclaimed Property Trust Fund to the Housing Development Grant Fund to fund affordable housing throughout the state from FY 2020-21 through FY 2022-23.
Landlord and Tenant Duties Regarding Bed Bugs
Requires tenants to promptly notify a landlord when a lessee knows or reasonably suspects that a rented residential unit contains bed bugs. A landlord must inspect the dwelling unit and any contiguous dwelling units not more than 96 hours after receiving notice. A landlord is responsible for all costs associated with mitigating bed bugs, with some exceptions.
MENTAL HEALTH AND EDUCATION BILLS
*SB 19-010 https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-010
Professional Behavioral Health Services for Schools
Modifies the School Health Professionals Grant Program to increase the presence of school health professionals in schools, and to allow school health professionals to connect students with services provided by community-based organizations. Includes an appropriation of $3 million from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund for FY 2019-20.
Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education
Makes changes to state law related to comprehensive human sexuality education instruction and the associated grant program. Adds definitions of consent and healthy relationships. If human sexuality instruction is offered, instruction must be comprehensive and meet the content requirements. Prohibits abstinence only teaching and use of shame-based or stigmatizing language or instructional tools, gender stereotypes, and exclusion of health needs of intersex individuals or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals.
Mental Health Parity Insurance Medicaid
Requires private health insurers and the state’s Medicaid plan to provide medically necessary coverage for behavioral, mental health, and substance use disorder services on par with the coverage for physical health services and to demonstrate compliance through new reporting requirements.
Extend School Finance Interim Committee
Reauthorizes and extends the Legislative Interim Committee on School Finance for one additional year to study school finance issues and make legislative recommendations concerning the funding of K-12 education in Colorado.
READ Act Implementation Measures
Makes several statutory changes to the Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act and its implementation. Directs the State Board of the Department of Education to promulgate rules for reporting the use of per pupil intervention dollars and requires schools and districts to identify and implement evidence-based curriculum designed around foundational reading skills.
Public School Finance
Sets funding levels for Colorado’s 178 PreK-12 school districts. Total program funding for FY 2019-20 will be about $7.4 billion ($8,476 per pupil) in state and local funds. Reduces the budget stabilization (BS) factor by $100 million. Includes one-time appropriations of $22 million for special education programs for children with disabilities and $20 million for additional funding for rural schools. For Jeffco Public Schools with 80,796 students, the total program funding is $668.85 million ($8,278 per pupil funding).
Income Tax Credit for Early Childhood Educators
Creates a state income tax credit for eligible early childhood educators that is tied to their credential level.
Child Care Expenses Tax Credit Low-income Families
Extends existing state income tax credit for child care expenses made by low-income taxpayers through tax year 2028.
Kindergarten through Fifth Grade Social and Emotional Health Act
Creates the K-5 Social and Emotional Health Pilot Program in up to 10 schools to determine the impact of dedicated school mental health professionals in K-5 in schools with high poverty and high-need students beginning in the 2020-21 school year. For FY2020-21, authorizes funding from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund up to $2.5 million, with the remaining pilot program funding from gifts, grants, or private donations.
Colorado Youth Advisory Council Review Committee
Creates the Colorado Youth Advisory Council Review Committee comprised of five legislators and five youths from the Colorado Youth Advisory Council as an ongoing legislative interim committee. Committee may meet up to three times per interim and can recommend up to three bills per interim for introduction at the next regular session of the General Assembly.
Youth Mental Health Education and Suicide Prevention
Requires that the Colorado Department of Education create and maintain a resource bank of program materials and curricula pertaining to mental health by July 1, 2020. Allows children between the ages of 12 and 14 years old to access psychotherapy services without initial parental consent (current law allows youth 15 and over to seek therapy without parental consent).
Expand Child Nutrition School Lunch Protection Act
Expands the School Lunch Protection Program to include lunches served to students in grades 9-12, and removes the specified range for the program’s annual appropriation.
Inclusion of American Minorities in Teaching Civil Government
Requires that the curriculum in Colorado public schools include the history, culture and social contributions of minorities, including, but not limited to, American Indians, Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Also creates an advisory board.
School Discipline for Preschool through Second Grade
Limits the circumstances in which a student in preschool through second grade can be suspended from school.
State Funding for Full-day Kindergarten
Provides funding for full-day kindergarten. Prohibits school districts and charter schools from charging any fees for attending kindergarten that are not routinely charged for students enrolled in other grades. Authorizes $175 million to fund the programs for the 2019-20 school year and reallocates more than 5,000 early learning slots currently being used for kindergarten.
Protect Colorado Residents from Federal Government Overreach
Prohibits state and local law enforcement officials from arresting or detaining an individual on the basis of civil immigration detainer request and clarifies that law enforcement may assist federal authorities in the execution of a federal warrant or other federal criminal investigations. Prohibits a probation department officer or employee from providing personal information to federal immigration authorities.
Local Government Minimum Wage
Repeals the prohibition on local governments to enact a higher minimum wage than the state’s minimum wage (which will reach a maximum of $12/hour on Jan. 1, 2020). Allows a unit of local government to enact laws establishing a minimum wage within its jurisdiction.
Voter Approval to Retain Revenue for Ed & Transp
Refers Proposition CC to the voters at the statewide election on November 5, 2019.
Proposition CC: WITHOUT RAISING TAXES AND TO BETTER FUND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, HIGHER EDUCATION, AND ROADS, BRIDGES, AND TRANSIT, WITHIN A BALANCED BUDGET, MAY THE STATE KEEP AND SPEND ALL THE REVENUE IT ANNUALLY COLLECTS AFTER JUNE 30, 2019, BUT IS NOT CURRENTLY ALLOWED TO KEEP AND SPEND UNDER COLORADO LAW, WITH AN ANNUAL INDEPENDENT AUDIT TO SHOW HOW THE RETAINED REVENUES ARE SPENT? (see www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/ballot/contacts/2019.html)
Allocate Voter-approved Revenue for Education & Transportation
Contingent on voters approving Proposition CC in November. Requires that one-third of the additional revenue be allocated to each of public schools, higher education, and transportation (roads, bridges and transit).
Create Statewide Health Care Review Committee
Creates the Health Care Review Committee as a permanent interim committee of the General Assembly. Committee will study health care issues affecting Colorado residents and includes members of the legislative health committees.
Equal Pay for Equal Work Act
Modifies wage discrimination law and creates new provisions regarding transparency in wages and promotions. Prohibits employers from seeking wage rate history to determine wage rate for a prospective employee.
More Colorado Roads and Community Safety Act Offices
In 2013 the Colorado Legislature passed SB-251—Colorado Roads and Community Safety Act, which provided driver’s licenses to all Colorado residents, regardless of immigration status. This 2019 legislation expands the number of offices where people can apply for and receive a driver’s license to at least10 offices geographically distributed throughout the state.
FY 2019-20 Long Bill
The appropriations bill, often referred to as the “Long Bill,” is the Joint Budget Committee’s budget package for state fiscal year 2019-2020. The $30.5 billion state budget allocates $300 million to transportation and infrastructure, $175 million to full-day kindergarten, $121 million to higher education to keep tuition flat, and provides funding for a 3% pay increase for state employees.
Proposal for Affordable Health Coverage Option
Requires the Division of Insurance in the Department of Regulatory Agencies to develop and submit a proposal concerning the design, costs, benefits, and implementation of a state option for health care coverage.
Health Care Cost Savings Act of 2019
Creates the Health Care Cost Analysis Task Force to analyze and compare methods of financing health care in Colorado. Will consider current Colorado health care financing system, a multi-payer universal health care system, and a publicly financed and privately delivered universal health care system. Final report due September 1, 2021.
LAMENTS (bills that did not pass or changed substantially):
FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance Program
As introduced, would have created an insurance program for Colorado workers to use paid leave to care for themselves and their families. As amended and passed, creates a task force and requires actuarial and third-party studies of the implementation of a paid family and medical leave program in the state. By January 8, 2020, the task force shall report its final recommendation on a paid family and medical leave program for all employees in Colorado.
Authorize Local Governments to Stabilize Rent
Did not pass. Would have removed a state prohibition on local governments to enact laws that control rent on private residential real property or private residential housing units.
Find My Legislator (https://leg.colorado.gov/findmylegislator) (for your current state Senator and Representative in the Colorado State Legislature)
Contact Information for all Legislators in the Colorado State Legislature (https://leg.colorado.gov/legislators)
List of Committees in the Colorado State Legislature (https://leg.colorado.gov/content/committees)
Find a Bill—Colorado General Assembly (https://leg.colorado.gov/bills)
2019 Legislature Summary Articles
Chalkbeat: Colorado lawmakers made big investments in public education — but few major policy changes (www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2019/05/05/colorados-2019-legislative-session-saw-big-investments-in-public-education-but-few-major-policy-changes/)
Chalkbeat: Kindergarten, reading, mental health: what Colorado lawmakers did for education in 2019 (www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2019/05/03/kindergarten-reading-mental-health-colorado-legislature-education-2019/)
Colorado Public Radio: Despite a Heated Legislative Session, Polis Walks Away With a Number of Policy Wins (www.cpr.org/news/story/despite-a-heated-legislative-session-polis-walks-away-with-a-number-of-policy-wins)
Colorado Public Radio: CPR Staff Chat: What Did Colorado Get (And Not Get) From Its Lawmakers This Year? www.cpr.org/news/story/cpr-chat-what-we-think-about-the-legislative-session
Colorado Sun: A look at how policies passed during Colorado’s 2019 legislative session will impact you (https://coloradosun.com/2019/05/07/colorado-legislative-session-2019-bills-passed-list/)
Colorado Sun: $120 million in requests and $40 million in the bank. How an obscure theory helped prioritize the Colorado budget (https://coloradosun.com/2019/05/28/quadratic-voting-colorado-house-budget/)
Denverite: Bills that became Colorado law this session could help people stay housed (https://denverite.com/2019/05/07/bills-that-became-colorado-law-this-session-could-help-people-stay-housed/)
Denver Post: Colorado Democrats deliver on major changes to health care, education and the environment in dramatic session (www.denverpost.com/2019/05/03/colorado-democrats-general-assembly/)
9News: What the Colorado legislature changed during their 2019 session (www.9news.com/article/news/what-the-colorado-legislature-changed-during-their-2019-session/73-58a8e189-345e-40a4-b2a0-a8ebfa0e9df5)
Articles about Housing / Tenant Protection
Colorado Center on Law & Policy: Facing eviction alone—A study of evictions, Denver, Colorado, 2014-2016 (https://cclponline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Facing-Eviction-Alone-2017-Report_Final-1.pdf)
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies: 2018 Sunrise Review: Manufactured Housing Community Owners and Managers (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZztAczyFCIy759zak_aY4_hwqzcfuwey/view)
National Public Radio: First-Ever Evictions Database Shows: ‘We’re In the Middle of a Housing Crisis’ (www.npr.org/2018/04/12/601783346/first-ever-evictions-database-shows-were-in-the-middle-of-a-housing-crisis)
Articles about Mental Health / Education
Chalkbeat’s bill tracker for a full look at education legislation (www.chalkbeat.org/2019-bill-tracker/)
Colorado Sun: By law, mental health benefits are supposed to be as good as medical coverage. In practice, that’s not happening (https://coloradosun.com/2019/03/27/colorado-mental-health-parity/)
Colorado Sun: No Colorado school districts meet federal safety standards for behavioral health staffing, investigation shows (https://coloradosun.com/2019/04/12/colorado-school-districts-behavioral-health-staffing/)
Colorado Sun: A breakdown of the 8 issues Colorado lawmakers will study before the 2020 legislative session (https://coloradosun.com/2019/05/29/colorado-lawmakers-interim-study-committees/)
Colorado Sun: Colorado lawmakers want to eliminate spending caps. Here’s how the TABOR overhaul would work (https://coloradosun.com/2019/03/20/colorado-lawmakers-want-to-eliminate-spending-caps-heres-how-the-tabor-overhaul-would-work/)
Washington Post: Female representation matters. Colorado’s legislature proves that. (www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/female-representation-matters-colorados-legislature-proves-that/2019/04/12/e79b5e0e-5c6e-11e9-a00e-050dc7b82693_story.html?utm_term=.4b8e74e44498)
University of Denver: Projected Economic Impacts of Paid Family Leave in Colorado by Jennifer C. Greenfield et al. (https://socialwork.du.edu/sites/g/files/lmucqz281/files/2019-02/Paid-Family-Leave-Report.pdf)